Four churches have made a striking commitment: They will no longer call the police, for any reason.
According to the Washington Post, the churches “believe the American police system, criticized for its impact especially on people of color, is such a problem that they should wash their hands of it entirely.”
The predominantly white churches — Protestant and Unitarian, in the Bay Area and Iowa City — are calling it “divesting” from policing.
The Post reports:
The project of divesting is organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a nationwide organization that tries to get white Americans working on behalf of racial justice. … The Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ has signed on to recruit from among its member churches, and the Bay Area churches are talking to more congregations in their area, from denominations including the Disciples of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA).
…Many of the churches that SURJ approached were not interested. “I had some hard conversations with pastors and members,” Dunlap said. “These were progressive congregations that had participated in our work in the past — hung Black Lives Matter banners and had them vandalized. They said, ‘We appreciate our relationship with the police. We don’t want to put that at risk.’”
But to Dunlap, resisting policing is among her religious obligations. “You’re talking about state violence against communities. You have to speak up and take a stand about that. There’s not a nice way to just play in the middle,” she said. “There’s not a way to reform our way out of police violence but to dismantle policing as a system.”
The churches are training members of the congregation in alternate responses to threat, uncertainty, or needs for help.
Read the full story, here.